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          DHCP working Group                                  Baiju V. Patel
          INTERNET DRAFT                                   Intel Corporation
          July 11, 1997                                  Expires in 6 months
                                    Securing DHCP
                          <draft-ietf-dhc-securing-dhc-00.txt >
          Status of this Memo
               This document is a submission to the IETF Dynamic Host
               Configuration Protocol (dhc) Working Group. Comments are
               solicited and should be addressed to the working group
               mailing list (dhcp-v4@bucknell.edu) or to the editor.
               This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are
               working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force
               (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that other
               groups may also distribute working documents as
               Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of
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               Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other
               than as ``work in progress.''
               To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please
               check the 1id-abstracts.txt listing contained in the
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               ds.internic.net (US East Coast), or ftp.isi.edu (US West
               This proposal describes methods of securing DHCP based on
               IETF DHCP and IPSEC protocols. This protocol achieves
               security goals for DHCP client and servers without having to
               define a new security protocol. Instead, it first bootstraps
               the DHCP client in un-trusted mode using existing DHCP
               protocol and then proceeds to secure configuration of the
               client using existing DHCP and IP protocol features.
          1.   Introduction
               In this draft, we present a method of securing DHCP protocol
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               and use notation DHCPSEC for the proposed method. The
               servers and clients that implement the proposed method are
               denoted by DHCPSEC servers and clients, respactively.
               The objective behind securing DHCP is to securely configure
               a DHCP client with an IP address(es) and configuration
               parameters. The DHCPSEC does not protect against an
               unauthorized client from arbitrarily selecting an address
               and using it. Instead, if a client obtains IP address(es)
               and configuration parameters using DHCPSEC protocol, it is
               assured that the IP address and configurations obtained
               using DHCPSEC are the ones provided by an authenticated
               DHCPSEC server and the integrity of the parameters is not
               compromised by an adversary in the network. The subsequent
               renewal of the lease, and acquiring of the additional
               configuration parameters, as well as release of the lease of
               an address(es) is authenticated as well. Thus, the protocol
               protects the client from an adversary who may release the
               lease of its IP address. The DHCPSEC server also
               authenticates the DHCPSEC clients. This allows an DHCPSEC
               server to determine if a client should be allocated an
               address at all, and to help determine configuration
               parameters for the client. Moreover, it prevents an
               adversary from renewing or releasing an address assigned to
               an authorized client.
          2.   Securing DHCP Protocol
               The DHCPSEC is comprised of several phases: 1) start-up
               phase, 2) trusted configuration phase, 3) trusted renew, and
               4) trusted release phase.
               2.1. Start-up phase
               In start-up phase, the DHCPSEC client brings up an un-
               trusted configuration using the DHCP protocol defined in
               [1]. The configuration supplied by the DHCP server in this
               phase is the minimal configuration required to execute
               subsequent phases of the protocol. The server MUST supply an
               IP address, and optionally, provide default gateway and DNS
               server information. If the DHCP server is not on the same
               subnet as the client, the default gateway information MUST
               be provided. The lease time (configurable) for the IP
               address should be relatively small for the efficient use of
               the addresses. The recommended duration of the lease is
               hundreds of milliseconds.
               In many environments, there may be a concern that an
               adversary may be able to launch a denial of service attack
               by quickly requesting too many addresses (short lease in
               this case) and thus denying a legitimate client an IP
               address. There are several alternatives that may be deployed
               to protect against some forms of such denial of attacks. For
               example, if the DHCPSEC server is on the same subnet as the
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               client, it may allocate a non-routable temporary address to
               a DHCP client. Since the non-routable address space is
               large, an authorized client is likely to get an address even
               when this type of attack is in progress (it may result in a
               fairly large short lived state in the server). Broadband
               cable network environment may use such configuration by
               deploying DHCPSEC server at the head-end. In a switch based
               network, the monitors may be deployed in the hubs to detect
               both unauthorized use of IP addresses and denial of service
               attacks. If the attack in progress is detected, the ports
               may be deactivated. This is by no means a complete list of
               protection mechanisms against denial of service attack and
               the implementers must take appropriate actions to protect
               against such attacks. Note that the proposed method does not
               attempt to protect against denial of service attack.
               2.2. Trusted configuration phase
               In this phase, the DHCPSEC client proceeds with establishing
               a secure communication channel (as defined in section 2.4)
               between itself and a known DHCPSEC server (the address of
               the server is known after the start-up phase). If the
               DHCPSEC client fails to establish a secure channel with the
               DHCPSEC server, the DHCPSEC fails and MUST be terminated
               with appropriate messages. Naturally, the process may be
               repeated again as often as desired. Once the trusted channel
               is established, the DHCPSEC client proceeds to renew the IP
               address using DHCP renew message. The communication for DHCP
               renew phase MUST be based on the unicast messages over the
               secured communication channel between the DHCPSEC client and
               server. If the renew completes successfully, the IP address
               allocated to the DHCPSEC client is authenticated.
               Note: As suggested earlier, if the temporary address is not
               same as the address assigned in the trusted configuration
               phase, then the DHCP protocol may have to be modified so
               that instead of sending a NACK for the renew message, the
               server can ACK with an alternate address. The other approach
               is to modify the protocol so that instead of issuing a DHCP
               renew, the client can do a DHCP discover and, instead of
               sending a discover message as a broadcast, it is sent as a
               unicast message over the trusted communication channel. If
               the new trusted address is not identical to the un-trusted
               address assigned to a client, the DHCPSEC server SHOULD not
               automatically reclaim address before the duration of the
               temporary lease (it could lead to some race conditions). The
               client may issue an un-trusted release for the temporary
               address is no longer needed.
               2.3. Trusted Renew and Release
               The DHCPSEC server MUST ignore any renew or release request
               over clear channel for securely allocated IP address. Lease
               of a securely allocated IP address may be renewed or
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               released only over a secure channel between the DHCPSEC
               server and client to whom the address was allocated in the
               trusted configuration phase of the DHCPSEC protocol. The
               identity of the client is verified by the secure channel
               protocol. In summary, the trusted release phase is
               essentially same as the trusted configuration phase.
               2.4. Authenticated Secure Channel
               The DHCPSEC compliant servers and clients MUST implement the
               secure channel based on IPSEC AH [2] and ISAKMP/OAKLEY
               [3,4,5]. IPSEC ESP [6] MAY be used when the situation
               warrants. DHCPSEC clients and servers must conform to the
               interoperability requirements of IPSEC protocol suit
               (including ISAKMP/OAKLEY, IPSEC AH, and IPSEC ESP). In
               future other secure communication channels may be defined.
               The IPSEC security association is used by the DHCPSEC
               protocol during the trusted configuration phase. Therefore,
               at the end of this phase, the security association SHOULD be
               discarded by both the DHCPSEC client and servers. In some
               cases (e.g., when the temporary address is same as the
               securely assigned address), the same security association
               MAY be used for further communication between the two
          3.   Security Considerations
               The proposed protocol does not address security requirements
               for tftp function that is part of the bootp protocol. It is
               assumed that the integrity of the files tftp'd will be
               verified using means external to this protocol. An example
               of such means would be to use signed files for software
               download using tftp so that the client would be able to
               authenticate and verify integrity of the copied software.
               The server may enforce licensing requirements on the
               software by external means such as a license servers.
          4.   Acknowledgments
               The author would like to thank Thomas Narten, Ralph Droms,
               Peter Ford, Eric Dittert, Dave Chouinard, Charlie Perkins,
               and Throop Wilder, Munil Shah and many others for helping
               improve this draft.
          5.   References
               [1] Droms, R, "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol", RFC
               1531. Bucknell University, 1993.
               [2] Atkinson, R., "IP Authentication Header", RFC 1826.
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               [3] Maughan, D., Schrtler, M. Schneider, M., and Truner, J.,
               "Internet Security Association and Key Management Protocol
               [4] Piper, D., The Internet IP Security Domain of
               Interpretations, Internet Draft.
               [5] Carel, D., Harkins, D., "The Resolution of ISAKMP with
               [6] Atkinson, R., "IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)",
               RFC 1827.
          6.   Authors' Address
               Baiju V. Patel
               Intel Corporation
               MS JF3-206
               2111 NE 25th Ave.
               Hillsboro, OR, USA  97124
          Patel                                                  [Page 5]

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